If it's what you say, I love it.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Impeach (Barr) Now!


While I've been clear that I'm comfortable with the pace at which Congress is moving towards impeaching Trump (I think we got to 97 supporters yesterday and I'm guessing we'll hit 120 this month after Mueller testifies), unless the courts are saying not to, it's time to open an impeachment inquiry against Bill Barr. This is getting grotesque:

We've got all we need on him if we can get a few relevant witnesses.

And when I get unsuspended from Twitter in a couple of days, I'll be able to say it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nuking Portland

I'm suspended from Twitter for the week (apparently it's worse to say mean things to a Nazi than it is to actually be one), and I'm continuing to try to talk myself into an impeachment inquiry, but I still remain here:

PILOT: OK, taking off! I've got Little Boy!

COMMANDER: Good lu.... oh, shit, the Japanese are winning! Drop the bomb!!!!

PILOT: But... Commander, I just took off!

COMMANDER: But they're so terrible! You have to drop the bomb!

PILOT: Um, I'm not over Hiroshima. I'm over, uh, Portland.


PILOT: Seriously... give me another 12 hours or so and I'll blow the crap out of Japan!


PILOT: If you say so...

Eh, hipsters suck, anyway.

Friday, July 12, 2019

OK, I Lied -- I'm Still Talking Impeachment

I'm such a broken record on this, but I keep listening to podcast episodes and thinking over and over, "What is it I'm missing?" While nearly nobody I know in real life thinks that impeachment NOW (as opposed to what I think -- and yes, Pelosi thinks and has said over the last several weeks -- which is that trying to gather more evidence first) is a good idea, almost all of my online friends, who are generally more informed than my real life ones, think it is.

I'm trying to talk myself into it. Most of my reservation is that I'm afraid the media will BothSides impeachment worse than anything, and I'm sort of ready to say, "Fuck it, fine, just do it" if Mueller's appearance doesn't change the media's coverage significantly. But every indication I'm feeling from all of the mainstream media I consume is that they're going to frame impeachment as a partisan issue, and I haven't found many of the reasons I'm hearing for doing it to be very compelling. I mean, I want ridiculously for David Ferguson of Bob Cesca's Goth Ninjas, as he discussed on Bob's podcast yesterday, to have health insurance -- hell, I support his podcast in a serious way despite the fact that I haven't gotten around to listening to it yet (but you should, he's awesome) -- but I'm scratching my head thinking "Step 1: Impeachment Inquiry. Step 2: ?? Step 3: Insurance." And Pelosi is *trying* to do something about health insurance -- Congress is fighting to save the ACA, and Dems are passing legislation in support of health insurance which, even though it won't pass, will be ready for when they can and shows people where they stand. But when the Democrats do that, people scream, "WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY PASSING USELESS LEGISLATION? IMPEACH! STOP MAKING STATEMENTS SUPPORTING OBAMACARE! IMPEACH!"

Impeachment, unless somehow it can remove both Trump AND Pence (and I still think there's a chance if there's a huge bombshell) will not get insurance for anyone, nor will it free a single kid from a cage, nor will it stop the erratic foreign policy.

I hear that it's about "holding Trump accountable," but although I'm not that worried about impeachment losing us 2020, I don't know how it really holds him accountable. Most people aren't going to be watching impeachment hearings on C-SPAN -- they'll be watching on networks and other outlets with commentary.... we already know that the media doesn't care about the things that the evidence that the public "knows." They don't give much of a shit about:

-Fascistic militarism
-Kids in cages
-Sweet tongue-kisses with Kim Jong Un
-Murder of fellow journalists
-People losing health insurance
-People losing jobs
-More rape
-Climate denial
-Voter suppression
-Again, rape. Like, however many rapes Trump has committed.
-Killing of dozens of children
-Russian influence over our elected officials
-CHILD rape.

And because the media doesn't care about those things, people don't care that much either. But the media does care about the horserace, and they care about Hillary's e-mails and the Clinton Foundation, and that's a huge reason we are where we are. Congress isn't more likely to get much more information from impeachment than from the other investigations -- it's been said that the courts will be more likely to enforce subpoenas if the Dems impeach, but as I think I mentioned in another post, Ted Lieu has told us that the courts are telling them that they will have more success with the judiciary if they exhaust all ways of working with the Republicans before taking more drastic measures... I actually think that the mass subpoenas being issued as of yesterday might be a sign that a court has indicated it will now enforce those subpoenas.

The only argument that resonates at all with me is that Congress is, if not constitutionally obligated, at least strongly recommended constitutionally to impeach someone so monstrous, and I think that means they should do it, but I don't know why, if it's not likely to deliver results yet, it's needed at any particular time. We know it's usually a 2-4 month process, and we have a 16 month window.

I really am open to the idea, though. I want to have at least one real conversation about this to see if I'm missing something. Most of the people in my real life agree with me, and when I ask about this online, the response I get is usually, "If you don't know by now, I can't help you." Two people have actually tried to talk about the practicality of impeachment with me on Twitter. One can't get past "Pelosi is so mean and sucky. Let's get rid of her and impeach!" The other told me that the Dems should break the rules and do something that's almost certainly out of the realm of possibility, and that would supposedly make it work.

So, can anyone lay out for me exactly how they see things playing out over the next 18 months if Pelosi were to go on all the networks first thing tomorrow morning and shout, "IMPEACH THE MOTHERFUCKER!"?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Threading The Needle

A month and a half ago ago, I wrote this regarding impeachment of Trump:
I *THINK* I see the strategy the [Democrats] are playing here. Trump and his people will keep on thinking they're making big moves while they're actually making things worse for themselves (like being excited in March when they quickly move Barr up the board and then watch helplessly as Kamala Harris captures him and they can't play him, at least as effectively, anymore), and the Dems and their non-corrupted allies in law enforcement are subtly setting a trap to be sprung at the correct time. Republicans hate our whole system so badly that they can get away with overturning the board and declaring victory. Democrats cannot overturn the board, because, frankly, we care about living to play another day.
[... The] bottom line is the result. I'd rather use impeachment in 2-3 months when we've worked things to the point that the media and even a few Republicans are in the in our column than gamble from less of a position of strength today. I *think* it has a better chance to save democracy.

Mueller showing up on the podium last month did make a difference -- some of the media is now actually paying attention to the Mueller Report itself rather than to what people, first and foremost Bill Barr, are saying about it. I think that has made members of the media, like, READ THE REPORT. And now, much of the media no longer treats Barr as honest and they're open to the idea that Trump did a wee bit of obstruction of justice. Some examples:

Hell, CNN just hired Daniel Dale, who is known on Twitter as the Toronto Star's reporter covering Trump's lying.

If Pelosi has *any* chance of taking Trump down rather than just shaming him (which, if that's the only option, I'll take), it's going to be by reframing the discussion of why he's being impeached.

Right now, the public discourse is about Volume 2 more than Volume 1. And to the extent it's about Volume 1, it's about "Russian election interference." Not only do we need the spotlight moved over to Volume 1, we need to rewrite that title in the media's head to "Trump election stealing." This is why, I believe, they're holding hearings on Volume I next week and why they're working so hard to get the counterintelligence investigation materials and other documents before starting. If Schiff can't get those materials, he can at least alert the media that they exists, which I think, and I think he thinks, will make them more likely to see the light of day. This could be one reason they haven't subpoenaed Mueller yet; they need some time to change the narrative before bringing him in. What happens in the coming weeks is important. They can't do a shitty job.

When Mueller does testify, it will probably be the televised event of the century, right? So the Democrats had better be prepared for what'll probably be more than one day of questioning and testimony. And who's going to be asking the questions on the Dem side? 11 Congresspeople. And who's going to write them? Their staff, which isn't nearly enough people to move more quickly. Newt Gingrich cut Congressional staff headcount for exactly this reason -- so it would be harder to root out corruption. But you've got 11 congresspeople, and the staff they do have, and they *all* have to be totally up on what the report says.

There's a lot in the works. Over the coming weeks, Mueller is *going* to testify in front of Congress. A lot of people say he's too "by the book." But if he's so "by the book," he knows very well he can't dodge a subpoena and he either has to fess up in front of Congress when he's under oath or plead the 5th, or say he can't answer because the information's classified. But he can't lie and say it's because the information is classified if it isn't -- that would be perjury. He helped put Michael Cohen in jail for lying to Congress. I'd be shocked if he did it himself.

Some combination, if not all of, Trump's tax returns, Trump's financial statements, the unredacted Mueller report, the results of other ongoing investigations, and information from the counterintelligence investigation will be revealed soon. The Dems have already announced two contempt votes for Barr, one for McGahn, one for Ross. I think they're all supposed to happen by the end of next week (each one requires two votes, though not for long).

Mueller 's report is bad for Trump. There's no doubt it shows that he's a criminal. It shows that other Republicans are criminals. And obviously, it shows that Russians are criminals. However. There is so much more going on here than that. This wasn't just a two-year conspiracy by Vladimir Putin to put Trump in office and rewarded by Republicans in all sorts of ways. This is a decade-plus long conspiracy by Putin, and some others, to raise up radical right-wing governments all over the world and to overturn the established post-WWII order. We need to turn back all of it. This is one battle in a larger war. This is why Mueller was looking at people like Nigel Farage... I said that this was more than about one country helping one really bad person steal one election in one year. This has been about a handful of countries helping a *lot* of really bad people steal a *lot* of elections over a period of more than a decade.

But isn't Mueller telling the Dems it's time to impeach? Not necessarily. This is what the Mueller report says about it: Volume II, p. 178, footnote 1091: 

A possible remedy through impeachment for abuses of power would not substitute for potential criminal liability after a President leaves office. Impeachment would remove a President from office, but would not address the underlying culpability of the conduct or serve the usual purposes of the criminal law. Indeed, the Impeachment Judgment Clause recognizes that criminal law plays an independent role in addressing an official's conduct distinct from the political remedy of impeachment. See U.S. CONST. ART. l, § 3, cl. 7. Impeachment is also a drastic and rarely invoked remedy, and Congress is not restricted to relying only on impeachment, rather than making criminal law applicable to a former President, as OLC has recognized. A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. at 255 ("Recognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President 's term is over or he is otherwise removed from office by resignation or impeachment.").
That is not the plan. The plan is: don't base the case on *only* Mueller's 448 pages. There are still 14 investigations that he started that are still going on, several Congressional investigations, a number of other investigations in various municipalities, and a ton of other things that are still under wraps.

Anyway, I'm generally on board with impeachment, and I'm glad to see that support for it is increasing:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of Americans who said President Donald Trump should be impeached rose 5 percentage points to 45 percent since mid-April, while more than half said multiple congressional probes of Trump interfered with important government business, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.

That's from last week. An update this week:

Overall, 27 percent of Americans say there’s enough evidence to begin impeachment hearings now — up 10 points from last month.
Another 24 percent think Congress should continue investigating to see if there’s enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future, which is down eight points.

That's pretty huge. Swaying that 24 percent, which went from 32 percent last month as they went into the pro-impeachment column, is one of the things the Democrats appear to be working on, and if so, it's working.

My congressman and at least one of my Senators do support impeachment and I'm happy about that. And if the other Senator doesn't yet, she will shortly.

What I don't entirely get is why we need to do it now. One of the arguments in favor of that is because he's doing so many awful things, like caging children, and taking away an awful lot of rights from already disadvantaged groups, not to mention his gambling with the economy. I just don't get how an impeachment without a conviction helps on that front. Republicans in the Senate support most of these awful things, and they can get away politically in the media with letting a little obstruction of justice slide. He's committed so many crimes that Mueller laid bare. They are all absolutely crimes. But they're not crimes that will get him removed from office. So why the rush? We are going to know a LOT more a few weeks from now than we do today.

A brief aside: As much of a shitbag as Jeff Sessions is and always has been, he recused himself for a reason -- he was actually involved in the Russia plot -- and Mueller had relatively free rein for a while. I think when he lost that, he had to narrow his scope because he saw the writing on the wall. I just don't have much of another explanation for why he interviewed some of the people he did and then never mentioned them at all in his report. I was gobsmacked that the thing wasn't over 1000 pages.

Another sign he wasn't done is that if you read the report, which Barr said on March 22nd was wrapped up, there's stuff in there from an interview he conducted with Michael Cohen on March 19th, just three days before. There's no way people like Mueller and his team, who are cautious for a fault, just tacked on things like that at the very end with no time to actually check them out.

Back to the point -- prosecutors sometimes sit on charges until they can most effectively use them. If you're Elliot Ness and you can't get Al Capone on anything but tax evasion, you get him on tax evasion. That's pretty good, but if you can get him on murder, you get him on murder. If you want to get him on murder, you cannot walk into the courtroom saying, "Your honor, today I bring before you a man we are accusing of tax evasion, but I will prove that he committed murder."

Unless you think that there is a way you can do it that *can* actually remove him from office. Nancy Pelosi said at the Commonwealth Club the other day: "Nothing is off the table, but we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case, that the Republican Senate ... will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country." She's either delusional, lying, or within some reasonable distance of correct. Trump appears to believe Option #3.  The fact that he won't let go of a report that supposedly exonerated him is telling, and Barr is going to extreme lengths to help him cover up.

I think it's possible, but she needs a smoking gun around election theft or Trump being a Russian (or otherwise) agent. A secret recording of one of Putin and Trump's conversations; or checks written from a Trump entity to Russian hackers or their representatives; or (probably not, but) the pee-pee tape? Probably a different story. Until she has that case, she needs to play the media into thinking that when she does get to using impeachment, she does so as a measure of last resort so that she doesn't look partisan. April Ryan on CNN said it well last weekend: [paraphrasing] "She's trying to nail the coffin shut. She won't impeach while the lid is still open."

I think things are progressing. We went from a handful of mostly backbench House Dems and one or two presidential candidates to call for impeachment to higher-profile House Dems to House Committee Chairs and most of the candidates while Nancy has gone from "No, it's too risky" to "We're going to get there."

The vibe I'm getting from her, and the actions I see the Democrats taking now feels nothing like 2007ish, when she gave a hard no, much to my chagrin, when it came to impeaching Bush. The Dems gained 38 seats in the House in 2006. And they weren't conducting hearing after hearing of Republican elected officials and corporations, and weren't constantly seeking documents, and they weren't holding anyone in contempt. This is not how Pelosi was talking about Bush:

Nancy would love to get rid of Trump. It feels personal for her, which is good. He's so outwardly horrible, it should be personal. I do not believe at all that the delay is about losing elections. That was Pelosi's opening shot to throw the media, and the comment about "Trump not being worth it" was aimed at Trump. She needled him again similarly on Jimmy Kimmel's show two weeks back:

'I’m done with him, in terms of talking about him,' Pelosi told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on his ABC show. 'What we want to talk about is, let’s build the infrastructure of America and not have him stomp out of the room.'

I see comments like these on Twitter all the time:

When Pelosi says something to the effect of, "Let's get Trump to make a deal on infrastructure," it means "Let's get him to show up to a meeting that the media believes he should show up to and then let him whine like a little baby and storm out of the room." It's part of what she calls "self-impeachment," and that's exactly what Trump is doing:

But even with Trump making things worse for Trump (TM Bob Cesca), this just isn't as easy as some Democrats seem to want it to be, and in some ways deliberately so. Democrats simply can't run roughshod through our political and media systems the way Republicans can. That's partially due to the nature of liberalism vs. the nature of conservatism in general, partially due to the Republicans having spent 40 years working the media and the dark holes in our electoral systems, and partially because when the bad guys break the rules/laws, it's mostly bad, but it's a little good because 1. it shows us our vulnerabilities and 2. because it exposes them as bad guys. But when the good guys break them, then the rules are basically null and void.

Seeing the Dems actually trying to navigate these systems -- even if it takes longer than it would to just bash it to hell like Republicans do -- rather than just throwing up their hands, is a welcome advance. The Democrats don't want to become the bad guys while trying to take Trump out,which is why the Democrats aren't breaking the rules. However, they are moving forward within the rules.

The minute Pelosi affirmatively does anything involving, as Trump put it, that "dirty, filthy, disgusting word," the media is going to make a decision for the people as to whether or not the Democrats dropped a nuke on poor Trump for partisan political reasons, or because they've unearthed the greatest conspiracy in the history of the world. Do you think the average American knows the difference between an impeachment inquiry, an impeachment vote, and a Senate trial? Some members of the media might, and some might not. But unless they get a lot of help, they'll do a very shitty job of explaining it to the public. Whatever the media decides at the moment the Democrats drop the "I-Bomb" will probably be the narrative that colors their coverage for the next god-knows-how-many years.

The media gets something in its head about Democrats, the Republicans repeat it over and over, and then it becomes the truth. Hillary Clinton something something e-mails something something Clinton Foundation. Al Gore said he invented the internet (he didn't say that), so he's a chronic liar. Jimmy Carter gave a speech about "malaise" even though he didn't say "malaise."

Of course getting around all if this may be frustratingly slow. But if I'm presented with three choices: 1. Throw up my hands because I don't want to risk doing something bad, 2. Work more slowly and carefully than I wish I could to find a solution that keeps me good but also solves the problem, or 3. just do what the bad guys do... I'm picking #2. We'll see in the coming weeks if the Democrats are picking #1 or #2. It seems like 90% of Democratic Twitter is adamant that the Democrats are picking #1, which is why I wrote this post. I just don't want to have to engage in that discussion right now, unless someone can explain to me what real advantages impeachment brings that the Democrats don't have at their disposal now.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

No, Mueller's Not Disappointing Us

On his interview show on Wednesday, Bob Cesca interviewed Gaslight Nation co-host Sarah Kendzior. Sarah is extremely skeptical that Bob Mueller is doing any good, and even said that he might be complicit. I thought that was nuts, and posted my reactions on Bob's Patreon page. I wanted to put them up here, because they reflect thoughts that I'm tweeting way too much the last couple of days, and I'd rather have them live here. So here's a slightly-cleaned up compilation of three posts I wrote:

I still don't get the frustration with Mueller. We really do know now that he was always skating on thin ice as far as his investigation being shut down. I don't know what he could have done better, and I think this will play out over the coming months as the other investigations that he helped initiate move along.... it's kinda like at the end of Rogue One, with Mueller as the dude who's running from Vader before the doors close trying to hand off the Death Star plans.

As of tonight, it seems that, as I predicted on the day the Barr letter came out, Barr shut Mueller down early. He went as far as he was allowed to go -- remember, he had just requested six months' more funding just a few weeks before; I think he was meaning to more or less continue full force, and then Barr, as Vader, chased him down and he got out the best report he could. But now those investigations, plus Congress, know the Death Star weak points, and we're going to see TIE fighters [JASON'S NOTE, 5/3/19, 11:22 PM -- Jesus Christ, I meant X-Wings. Idiot. Thanks, Elliot.] fanning out to go after them in the coming months. Of course, in Star Wars, those TIE fighters got off a one-in-a-million shot to destroy the Death Star. This may not work, but it's giving us a better chance than a lot of people seem to think.

Maybe I'm being pollyannish -- I'm certainly being dorkish -- but I saw a *LOT* from Mueller that I liked, and his work just felt to me to be way beyond the 9/11 Commission, or Fitzgerald, or any of the other kinda half-assed investigations we've seen in our lifetimes.

Additionally, it sucks, but aside from Mueller working within the constraints of Mueller's job, Democrats are always working under the constraints of the media. If the Dems don't move at the right pace and lay out their case to the public carefully, the media just doesn't believe them, the public tunes it out, and the GOP jumps all over the Dems about jumping to conclusions. I believe strongly that Pelosi is planning impeachment hearings, but is waiting for a few things to happen (or be blocked from happening by the GOP, making themselves look worse) before she launches them. Those include getting the unredacted Mueller report (that appears to be blocked), having Barr testify in front of the House (also blocked), having Mueller testify (Barr could probably figure out a way to block him), and having McGahn testify (he's a private citizen now and I'm not sure how Trump could stop him short of jailing him, incapacitating him, or blackmailing him. I expect to see each of these things play out one way or another over the next 4-6 weeks.

The interview reminded me why I have some issues with Kendzior. She says things that make sense for a while, and then kind of like Rand Paul, just moves into Crazytown. I'm certainly open to the possibility that I'm wrong, and that Mueller didn't take things seriously enough, but I don't think for one damned minute that he's *complicit*. That's ridiculous. And, unlike what Sarah said, we found out yesterday that Mueller *is* still on the DOJ payroll. What are the penalties for violating their policies? I bet they're steep.

She's right that the Mueller report is incomplete, but as I said above, I believe that's because his work was cut short. He was investigating a LOT more than was in the report, things that led me to believe that he was being pretty comprehensive, but that didn't get mentioned in the report. He WAS investigating Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and even Brexit. We knew that based on who he was interviewing.

And as for the lack of indictments, I believed that Kushner, Junior, and Ivanka would get indicted later in 2019. Mueller was headed there. He didn't get the time he expected to have in the end. If he'd  indicted any of them without an airtight case, once again, the media would've been all over him. Additionally, does anyone think his work had nothing to do with getting Assange arrested right near the end?

Mueller's not a superhero. But the work he did was a productive part of a collaborative effort that is giving us a true shot at making things better. Trump wanted to fire him over and over and over for a reason. Short of, say, evidence that he really was working with the GOP, it'll be really difficult to convince me otherwise.

A number of people have said that Mueller should've held a press conference by now. He can't do that, potentially under penalty of prison, as long as he's still employed by the government, which we didn't know for sure he was until a few days ago. I was expecting since the first day Barr's letter dropped that he had Mueller handcuffed in some way, and that appears to be one of them.

So, instead, soon after we get to see (85% of) Mueller's report, "someone" leaks Mueller's letter to Barr (and the fact that Mueller memorialized his thoughts on this in a letter is seen as a pretty serious step in that context) the day before Barr goes up before the Senate and two days before he goes up before the House. Barr ends up looking like a fool and a liar in front of the Senate on an eight hour nationally televised event, and then has to bail on the House. Then the Democrats in the House, who are not handcuffed the way Mueller would be because Barr can't fire them or jail them, and also, unlike Mueller, can actually take action against Barr by holding him in contempt (which they apparently will do, probably most wisely after sending him a subpoena and giving him a week or two to defy it on the record), and then have options after that -- they could put him in the clinker, which they probably won't, they can impeach him and conduct full-on hearings, or they can use it as evidence in an upcoming impeachment of Trump. And neither Barr nor Trump can stop them from doing these things.

Kenzior said that Mueller isn't really "playing chess." I believe he is, but he understands that if he moves his rook diagonally to try to check the king, it's his rook that gets taken off the board, not the king. Or probably more accurate, in a game that's bigger than one person, he *is* the rook. Nancy's the queen (ooh, I do love this metaphor), and she's waiting for the right opening to start SMASHING pieces. I have found in chess that novice players get so eager to use their queen early because it's so powerful, but when they're playing a more experienced player, that queen is off the board in like the next five moves because the player discounts the fact that the queen, while it has a greater variety of moves than the other pieces, it's just as vulnerable as any of the others, and the better player is quietly watching that piece for that vulnerability to be exposed. Once that queen is gone, the novice player is pretty much fucked and because he was betting everything on the queen, and it all just goes irreversibly downhill from there.

We cannot afford to lose the queen, so we need to properly build up to the point where she can make her biggest moves by taking some of the GOP's pieces, who could otherwise capture her, off of the board. And that would be bad, because our king is basically this country's democracy. So, use our rook (Mueller) to castle the king and play some offense (like taking pieces like Flynn and Manafort off the board), let our pawns (in this case, let's say people like Liz Warren who has a platform but not much direct power make some noise about impeachment and start to move towards the other end of the board, where, if they make it, can turn into more powerful pieces), use knights and bishops like Nadler, Schiff, Waters, and Harris to turn up the heat on Mad King Trump at an appropriate pace by issuing subpoenas and daring him to defy them and taking his plays off the board (like turning people like Cohen and McGahn against him). Then you give yourself options for paths to victory (the narrow chance of getting so much horrible shit out on Trump that when you impeach the Senate has to convict, one of the other jurisdictions indicting him, or leaving him isolated and flailing alone for 20 moves until he runs out of steam in November 2020).

I don't play chess much because I don't have the patience (and I suck), but I understand the rules and the hypothetical strategies. I *THINK* I see the strategy the real players are playing here. Trump and his people will keep on thinking they're making big moves while they're actually making things worse for themselves (like being excited in March when they quickly move Barr up the board and then watch helplessly as Kamala Harris captures him and they can't play him, at least as effectively, anymore), and the Dems and their non-corrupted allies in law enforcement are subtly setting a trap to be sprung at the correct time. Republicans hate our whole system so badly that they can get away with overturning the board and declaring victory. Democrats cannot overturn the board, because, frankly, we care about living to play another day.

OK, that's a lot of chess. But, bottom line is the result. I'd rather use impeachment in 2-3 months when we've worked things to the point that the media and even a few Republicans are in the in our column than gamble from less of a position of strength today. I *think* it has a better chance to save democracy. Come three months from now, if I don't see the progress I'm looking for, I'll be more inclined to join the likes of Sarah Kendzior. But I'm optimistic. This feels more like 1974 than 2005.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Something I've Been Muellering...

It's funny; a lot of people have said "Oh, we *told* you Robert Mueller was no superhero and the only way you're going to get Trump out of office is voting in 2020." Strangely, while I actually thought, and still do think, that there's a chance that Mueller could be the reason Trump leaves office (or even that his work still could indict Trump), just because we are in *such* uncharted waters -- as I've said for more than two years now, I think anything can happen on the spectrum of possibilities from a removal of the whole regime and a revote/installation of HRC or Pelosi to Trump just declaring martial law, I've never thought of Mueller as a superhero.

And I didn't, at the beginning, expect him to do that great a job. But I want to say this about him: Having lived through the "investigations" of 9/11 and Iraq, Mueller's investigation has felt *nothing* like that kind of a whitewash. Dude's turned over rocks that I thought only the most conspiratorial of us would've even thought of. He's been incredibly thorough. We know what we've seen. We know Trump worked with Russia. We know he obstructed justice. We also know what both Trump and Russia's M.O.s are, and of course they worked together. Russia's been doing this sort of thing all over the world for a decade. Mueller knows all of this and probably a whole lot of things we probably don't.

We're not blind, and neither are Mueller and his team. If they're not telling us they think Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election (and, remember this -- lesser men in his field recognize it)... they're probably somehow being gagged.

I'm going to stand by that. We may not find that out now or anytime soon (hell, it took half a decade to unearth Nixon's Vietnam shenanigans from 1968), but I think I will see proof of it in my lifetime.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Seriously, Fuck Donna Brazile

Back in late 2017 when Donna Brazile accused the DNC of rigging the 2016 elections in favor of Hillary Clinton, I wrote a trio of posts that remain among the most read posts I've ever written:

Fuck Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile Backs Down

OK, That's Enough, Donna

From the first post:

...I have never been impressed with Brazile. She ran Al Gore's 2000 campaign, which chose Joe-friggin'-Lieberman as a VP candidate and which ran away from Bill Clinton, who had a 60%+ approval rating. She's since held a number of different positions in the party, but also was one of the first Democratic talking heads I became familiar with when I began watching cable news in the early 2000s. She was never very strong on TV, and as I started to identify with the Democratic Party more and more, I always cringed to see her represent the Democratic point of view... So, I'm establishing here that I'm not a fan of hers. At all. And now she's gone from being disappointing to me to being infuriating. Perhaps the reason she's lost pretty much every election she's been involved with is that she doesn't understand how American politics works.
Well, this week, Brazile decided to take her talents to the south side of West 46th Street and join Fox News. She still doesn't understand how American politics works -- and that's being generous. From Booman:

Donna Brazile should know that if you need to write a 900-word essay to rationalize taking your new job, you’re probably not going to convince your critics. If she wants to pay the mortgage with Rupert Murdoch’s money, she can do so without insulting everyone’s intelligence by trying to make the assignment sound high-minded. She will be a commentator at Fox News for the 2020 presidential election cycle, and she has every right to be excited about the challenge or opportunity or whatever you want to call it when a liberal agrees to play Alan Colmes to Sean Hannity on a network that is committed more every day to promoting white nationalism and Islamophobia.
Some of Brazile’s arguments are flat out laughable.

Read the rest. And again, fuck Donna Brazile.

Soundtrack to this post:

Friday, March 1, 2019


Last week I blew through Andrew McCabe's book, Threat. It wasn't that remarkable -- there was nothing as remarkable as this -- but this rang a bell in my head:

Back in the first few months after the election -- more than six months before Bob Mueller's investigation was a twinkle in Rod Rosenstein's eye -- there was a lot of talk in some of the not-so-credible corners of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theorizing Twitterverse of the entire Republican Party being taken down by RICO. As much sense as it made as the only solution to the looming metastasis of literal fascism in the United States, I couldn't believe it could happen because it seemed to me like Trump and his cronies were going to be able to prevent any attempts to investigate them and Putin-enabled authoritarianism was going to be the new normal. Those were incredibly dark days for me.

Today, largely due to Trump just being really, really bad at being a dictator (to paraphrase Homer Simpson, "I'M TIRED OF BEING A WANNABE DICTATOR! I WANNA BE A DICTATOR!"), there are at least 17 investigations into Trump and his associates, including several over which he has absolutely no authority. Sure seems like he's fucked. But what about the GOP, who follow him around with their noses in his ass? Could there be large-scale consequences for them? I'm going to say I still doubt it. I do think it's possible that certain Republican elected officials who are so deep into this massive scandal could be indicted -- Lindsey Graham, Dana Rohrabacher, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows, and Chuck Grassley come to mind -- however, could there be an effort to pull the entire plant out by the roots? Probably not, but...

About a year ago, in a post aptly titled, "Why I Watch (So Much) CNN," I explained, well, why I watch so much CNN:

Why do I bother? It's not like I'm going to learn anything there I'm not going to lean on the internet. In fact, cable news is, for the most part, months behind. I mean, it's been pretty apparent since late 2016 that Trump's campaign had colluded with Russia to steal the election, and we knew in October 2016 that the New York branch of the FBI was conspiring against Hillary. Most of the news hasn't even gotten that far. But that's why I watch CNN. I learn just how far the press has gotten in their willingness to call a particular spade a spade. In the case of Trump/Russia, the press would barely acknowledge it at all until Buzzfeed published the Steele "dossier." They were skeptical about it for a long time, but hookers and pee make for good TV. The next big milestone was probably the Comey firing, when the talking heads could start musing about obstruction of justice. However, almost no one would actually discuss WHY Trump obstructed justice. As more Russia news came out, such as the Trump Tower meeting, much of it was discussed as more or less as a series of isolated incidents.
Things are changing now. Trump's attacks on Mueller, particularly the revelation that Trump tried to fire him, is starting to elicit talk of Trump actually covering up crimes, and sometimes, the TV personalities will even allude to those crimes being Russia related. Occasionally, they'll discuss whether or not a sitting President can be indicted.
But they haven't gotten to where we were (though that could've changed tonight; I haven't gotten my nightly Lemon fix yet) in December of 2016. We knew that Russia had meddled in the election, with the help of the Trump campaign, and that the election was stolen.
I don't know whether they'll get there, but I'd say the next steps are for the CNN types to acknowledge, on air, that Trump cheated. Then they'll need to discuss what the consequences should be for stealing an election. Finally, and I don't think this'll happen, CNN panelists and perhaps hosts will call for an overturning of the election. That's what I'm watching for.

As we've seen since, things have continued to change. And tonight I saw something I hadn't seen before:

That's the first mention I've heard of RICO on CNN in this context. Meanwhile, on MSNBC:

That's three times in ten days. Something's in the air...

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Did Andrew McCabe Give Away the Game?

Just a quick hit because I'm very surprised I'm not finding anyone else saying this on Twitter or anywhere else.

This morning, when I first saw this clip on CNN, I did a double take because I thought I heard McCabe about to say something very, very interesting, but he pulled back. Watch this and also read the quote:

There is potentially something very, very heavy in that ellipsis. Here's that quote, with captioning:

OK, so far, nothing strange. But check out the next caption:

Listen to the clip at that moment...

What's missing is what's in the dash between the "and"s. Specifically, a syllable.

Listen again... "and chea -- and won...."

I'm pretty sure what he was about to say was: "I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and CHEATED..."

I heard that when I heard it live, and nothing I'm seeing or hearing is making me hear it any differently.

The FBI leadership from 2016 believes Trump actively stole the election. I think the cat's out of the bag.

Am I wrong?